In 2005, the Kittitas County Fire District No. 2 Board of Commissioners and the Ellensburg City Council authorized a Citizens Advisory Committee to explore the option of merging the City of Ellensburg Fire Department into Kittitas County Fire District No. 2. Citing the benefits of eliminating duplication of services and the ability to provide the communities involved, with a more effective utilization of equipment and staff. The Committee recommended in their report that the two departments should merge to provide more effective emergency response services. The proposal was put on a ballot for the public to consider and, in 2006 voters approved the annexation of tax parcels within the City of Ellensburg into Kittitas County Fire District No. 2. The combined entity operates as Kittitas Valley Fire & Rescue (KVFR) and became operational on January 1, 2007. The merger in 2007, brought together the Ellensburg Fire Department originally organized in 1883 and Kittitas County Fire District No. 2 created in 1945. In 2017, the City of Kittitas annexed into Kittitas County Fire District No. 2.
KVFR provides fire suppression; technical rescue; advanced life support (ALS) and basic life support (BLS) response and ambulance transport (including inter-facility transport); fire prevention; code enforcement; hazardous material response; and fire investigations. KVFR serves a permanent population of about 28,500, with an additional student population of approximately 9,500 when Central Washington University is in session. The service area is 278 square miles for fire suppression and 1,200 square miles for Emergency Medical Service (EMS) coverage. The area covered is a mixture of micro-urban, suburban, rural, and wild land interface. The district is staffed and equipped for response to structure and wildland fires, rescues, motor vehicle crashes, and medical emergencies. The district shares boundaries and responds with mutual aid to US Forest Service (USFS), Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Yakima Firing Center (a Department of Defense facility) as well as City of Kittitas and Kittitas County Fire Districts #1, #4 and #7. KVFR also provides services, under a fire protection contract, to the Central Washington University (CWU) campus.
KVFR is an active partner with the CWU Dorothy Purser Paramedic Program in providing paramedic students the opportunity to provide emergency medical care in a supervised setting with the ambulance units. KVFR staff and volunteers look forward to the opportunity to provide professional and effective service to the community as it grows.